Monday, October 8, 2012

On the Menu this Week

First of all, the Roasted Lamb from a few weeks ago was amazing. I can't recommend it highly enough, especially if you're serving six or more lamb lovers. I had the butcher at Whole Foods cut me a 2.5-pound piece of bone-in lamb shoulder which fed our family of four generously. We keep our animal protein portions small, though, so get more if you have bigger eaters.

Now that the school year has begun, my menu planning has taken a turn for the practical. In the summer I like to daydream a bit about food, but when the kids are in school and time is at more of a premium, I find I have to be more pragmatic about the time I can spend planning, shopping, and cooking. I tend to start each week thinking about what we haven't eaten in a while and plan my weekly menu around the combination of proteins and seasonal veggies. Then I make sure I'm stocked with grains, and produce for nightly salads.

I typically plan for five dinners, knowing that often we'll be out on a weekend night, or have one random night where we forage on leftovers or I make something simple like panini* and a salad. Tonight I'm planning on making Chicken Pesto Pasta, since I have chicken breasts and a bag of fresh basil on hand. Tomorrow will likely be a a quick Teriyaki night (quick pan-fried pork loin, on rice with stir-fried broccoli and bottled teriyaki sauce) since the family calendar has each of us in a different direction at dinnertime. Wednesday might be a good night for salmon, as it's a good day for me to get to Whole Foods, where I buy fish. I like to purchase and cook fish on the same day. Asian Salmon Salad sounds really good right now, so I'll make sure I get some bell peppers at the Green City Market on Wednesday morning.  Now I just need dinners for Thursday and Friday. We've not had Lamb Kabobs in some time, so that's an option, and Friday is a great night for Pizza Margherita, or Chanterelle Pizzas, if chanterelles are still coming to the market. It's a bit late in the season, but it's still possible.

And there - the weekly menu plan is done. Now I just have to plan my little shopping excursions and stock the fridge.

*Ham & Gruyère Panini
Featured on Pinch in 2008, In a Pinch

Preheat a griddle. Spray lightly with canola spray. Slather one piece of low-gluten sprouted bread with your favorite mustard. For the bread, I like both Alvarado Street or the comparable version at Trader Joe's.

Thinly slice some ham and Gruyère (note: Gruyère is very flavorful and a little goes a long way. I only use a few, thin slices to keep the sandwich healthy). Assemble and cook on hot griddle until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Press down using a panini press or a heavy lid, right on top of the sandwich. It's really good with greens dressed with Balsamic Vinaigrette.

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